Meet the Team

Leadership and Training Team

Our Highly skilled leadership team and trainers have all come from roles in the community sector where there roles are diverse and required a vast amount of skills and knowledge. We are proud to have a great team of passionate individuals who know exactly what it’s like to work in the sector and how to best deliver the training to ensure our students succeed in their chosen career.

Meet the team:

Julie Fletcher - Director

I started Essential Skills Training & Recruitment in 2010 passionate about providing the best quality training that we could offer students and employers. Being a Registered Nurse with experience in both acute settings and residential care, mainly in education and management roles. I worked in group homes for clients with mental illness and went on to be the CEO of the Hunter Women’s Centre, where I learnt so much about the diverse community services sector. I know the importance of having staff with quality skills and experiences.

What inspires me is the knowledge that what we do supports people in multiple ways, we change lives for the better. An individual finding a career or a career pathway and helping employers to meet their needs is a major highlight of what we do, but most of all, I believe we affect thousands of people's lives for the better, due to the services they receive from our prior students.

Leisa Harrison - CEO

Leisa Harrison - CEO

I have been working in the Vocational Education and Training (VET) Industry for the past 10 years. My background is in Compliance and I have various management and Vocational Education and Training qualifications. I am a busy mum of 3 beautiful girls and I thoroughly enjoy my job and the team of wonderfully talented people I work with. I am inspired by the passionate and selfless people making a difference in the world today.

What inspires You? …..The most rewarding part of our business is assisting people to realise their potential and gain employment in the community services industry. I believe that if you do well by others and help them succeed in life positive things will be drawn to you naturally.

Dee Cooke - Business Development Manager

Over the years I have had the fortunate ability to have a diverse career where I have been able to progress and advance in many roles starting in hospitality to managing a Hotel/Resort to a Regional liaison Manager for Employment Plus to being a manager for a large 142 Bed aged care facility to a Senior manager here at Essential Skills.

What inspires you? being someone that loves to learn working at Essential Skills Training and Recruitment gives me that opportunity not only to support individuals to reach their goals but also to be surrounded by passionate like minded people that also have the same goals and inspirations

If I wasn’t a trainer I would be….. helping someone somewhere! In what capacity I’m not sure but I do know that I love seeing people succeed and reach their goals!

Kirsty Allan - (RN) Operations Manager

As a qualified Registered Nurse I  have worked in clinical positions, clinical education, Community care Coordinator, community dementia nurse & ACAT assessor as well as training for the past 10 years.

What inspires you? .....Enabling people to achieve something they thought they couldn’t do. It makes you feel great that you have made a difference in someone’s life. To see people grow  within themselves is pretty inspiring.

If I wasn’t a trainer I would be….. I would definitely be working in the community ensuring people’s needs were met and could stay at home as long as possible. Though… I do like the idea of being a flamenco dancer.

Vicki Matthews - Training Manager

I  have over 30 year's experience, working in various senior level roles in a number of community service organisations including Residential Care, Community Centre's, Day Care, and Respite Care. Having completed a Bachelor of Dementia Care and Diploma of Diversional Therapy, I'm a huge advocate for individualised care based on programs which are designed to support, challenge and enhance the psychological, spiritual, social, emotional and physical wellbeing of individuals.

What inspires you? .....I'm inspired in knowing that we have a diverse team of trainers; all of whom have unique skills and personal experience that they can share in the classroom to help inspire our students to become better versions of themselves.

If I wasn’t a trainer I would be….. working in a Day Centre still. I'm a workaholic and deeply passionate about Dementia Care still to this day!

Rebecca Webber - Resource Development Manager

After completing an Applied Science degree in Leisure and Health I have predominantly worked in the disability services field in a broad range of areas such as general  and employment support work, then Service Management (both of a large service and shared living group homes) , Person Centred Planning and Program Design and Quality Monitoring. My key interests in the field are augmentative and alternative communication and the impact technology and social media can have on the lives of people with a disability.

Apart from disability I also have experience in designing leisure programs for people with acquired brain injury, in palliative care and for those recovering from stroke.

What inspires me: It may seem a little unusual but I’m inspired by words and stories. I have always had a fascination with words and how they can evoke emotion, whether written in a story or a poem, sung in a song or used to motivate in powerful speeches.

If I wasn’t a trainer I would be..... If I wasn’t a trainer I would be:  Oh so many choices! Ultimately I would love to be a book editor, specialising in crime novels. They are my favourite genre to read and would love to find more that I can’t solve before halfway through the book! I’d love to be paid to read.

Nicole Dawson - (RN) Trainer and Assessor

An experienced Registered Nurse with almost 30 years in the industry. My career includes working in and managing aged care facilities, wound consultancy and emergency nursing. I have worked as part of the Aged Services Emergency Team in Maitland Hospital. Currently, I'm working as a clinical educator and trainer and assessor in the VET sector.

What inspires me: I am inspired by people who live their lives with purpose and without judgement of others.

If I wasn’t a trainer I would be..... a novelist!

Helen Barnett - (RN) Trainer and Assessor

As an experienced Registered Nurse and trainer and assessor I have worked in a number of areas throughout the community sector providing well being and support to those in need. I enjoy all aspects of my nursing and training career and love my daily interactions with both client and student.

If I wasn’t a trainer I would be..... doing my other love in life and that is nursing.

Karen Gwillam - (RN) Trainer and Assessor

I started my career as an Assistant in Nursing (AIN) in 2003. As my career flourished and my responsibilities grew, I decided to advance my qualifications completing my EEN (Endorsed Enrolled Nurse) in 2007 and then my Bachelor of Nursing from the University of Newcastle in 2013. Having predominantly worked in Aged and Disability Care settings, I bring to this role (Trainer and Assessor) a broad understanding of the care models in these environments along with the challenges faced for our next generation of nurses.

If I wasn’t a trainer I would be..... Travelling the globe with an endless line of credit.

Janelle Shields - Trainer and Assessor

I have worked as a Physiotherapist for over 20 years' now and hold a Bachelor of Applied Science (Physiotherapy). I have worked in many arenas, including Private and Public Hospitals. I have had my own practice and am currently working in a local practice that specialise in Hydrotherapy for Disability clients.

Training has always been part of my professional identity, be it with University Physiotherapy students or new graduate colleagues, Cert IV Allied Health Assistant and Cert III Individual Support students. I just love it!! Being challenged to always extend and impart my knowledge is what it is all about.

What inspires you? Students who come from all walks of life and put themselves out there to try something different. They embrace the change and reap the rewards

If I wasn’t a trainer I would be..... a belly dancing travel blogger.

Sara Leslie - Trainer and Assessor

Sara has worked as a trainer & Assessor for 9 years and was formerly the Director of Leading Support Solutions in Brisbane.

What inspires you..... Being able to make real changes in the care sector and being able help improve people's choice through education.

If I wasn’t a trainer I would be..... writing a book.

Sonia Sims - Trainer and Assessor

I have worked in the aged care industry for approximately 10 years.

I had a terminally ill mother and wanted to be well prepared for when it was time to care for her so I went and studied Certificate III in Aged Care & Home and Community Care.

I have a vast amount of experience in residential facilities and home and community care working as a team leader & physio aide. I also have experience in kitchen, laundry and cleaning operations.   

What inspires you? .....Helping and supporting people to achieve their goals.

If I wasn’t a trainer I would be..... Working in an aged care facility.

Jo Hawkins - Trainer and Assessor

My passion and chosen area of work is supporting people with disability and I have extensive experience in this field, working in large residential, community group homes, on a behaviour support team and various roles in management.

I am very grateful to work with the many talented people at Essential Skills and to continue to provide training that meets the needs of the modern workforce.

What inspires you? .....Supporting and empowering people to grow and achieve their goals.

If I wasn’t a trainer I would be..... a multi-millionaire and invest in houses  (do them up and sell them).


Mark Addison - Trainer and Assessor

I have been working with people in the human service sector for 35 years incorporating youth, family, disability, mental health sectors as both direct service provider and a leader. I’m passionate about enhancing the life’s journey of people I encounter in my life’s journey. I do this by fueling curiosity, growing knowledge and then hopefully, a personal sense of hope and purpose within the people I teach.

I am very grateful to work with the many talented people at Essential Skills and to continue to provide training that meets the needs of the modern workforce.

What inspires you? .....Seeing people grow, to become more than they were.

If I wasn’t a trainer I would be..... A space explorer who can act and play music

Tania Hardy - Trainer and Assessor

I have worked as an AIN for over 10 years specialising in dementia care and palliative care. I feel I've made a geat contribution to community as an AIN and I'm thrilled to be able to that to a new level by helping train the next generation of aged care and disability care workers.

What inspires you? Being able to make a positive impact on another person's life; whether it be through quality care or education.

If I wasn’t a trainer I would... living on a remote property, hunter and gatherer.

Michelle Worth - Trainer and Assessor

Before starting at Essential Skills I was a disability care worker specialising in complex care. Within that time I was appointed head trainer a ran internal professional development programs to ensure staff were up to speed on the latest regulations and procedures.

What inspires you? My students inspire me, and the amazing people I work with.

If I wasn’t a trainer I would... running a beachfront bar in some remote paradise.

Monique Wadwell - Trainer and Assessor

I have been working in the Disability sector for many year's as a support worker. I also have vast experience teaching special education programs in schools.

What inspires you? I love teaching.. I love sharing. It's extremely rewarding being able to help people reach their personal goals.

If I wasn’t a trainer I would be... wine or cheese maker.

Sales Team

Our friendly Sales team have a combined 20 year's experience working in the vocational sector, and are specialists in the community services sector. Whether you have a staffing issue, a funding issue or skills gap issue, our team relish the opportunity to learn more about your needs and to assist you in finding a workable solution.

Don't hesitate to reach and introduce yourself!

Peter Robson - Customer Support Officer

I have been working in the Vocational Education sector for over 15 years'. During that time I have held various Sales, Marketing and Customer Service roles. Here at Essential Skills I'm very proud of the outcomes we generate for students and organisations and I'm inspired by the passion and dedication of our trainers who are pivotal in making that happen. There's a saying I like "if you're the smartest person in the room; you're in the wrong room"...

Paula Coleman - Customer Support Officer

I am a passionate person who is dedicated in providing an exceptional customer service experience for both our students and our partner organisations. For the past 2 years I've helped re-shape the Essential Skills student support model and assisted organisations with their staffing needs through our work placement and recruitment programs. I look forward to meeting with you to learn more about your organisation.

Administrative Team

We couldn't do without our wonderful administrative team. Our administration staff all have a great passion for providing quality customer service. They are always welcoming to anyone who walks through the door or calls the office, and will go above and beyond to help our students and employers. Our roles are varied, and include providing information on courses, assisting students to find the right qualification and enrol, supporting them throughout their training and ensuring they are issued with their certificate quickly after completion. We also provide support to employers by providing them with regular updates on their staff members’ progress throughout training. We pride ourselves on our product knowledge, knowing that we can give people all the information they need to make decisions about their career paths.

Put a face to the name at the other end of your email / phone.

Sarah Matthews

Compliance Manager

Kylie Ryan

Kylie Ryan

Alisha Vicary

Kahlan Frost

Marina Sheppard

Sophie Maher

Ellie Brodie

Jessica Charlton

Shellie Snape

Samantha Coleman


RTO ID: 91729 | Legal name: Trissig Pty Ltd